Alex Honold on Free Soloing El Capitan

In this TED Talk, Alex Honnold talks about how he was able to feel so comfortable on his iconic Freerider free solo, and how he overcame his fear. Honnold starts with a brief version of how he became a climber, and then tells the story of his two most significant free solos: Half Dome and El Capitan.

My hands sweat just thinking about it.

TED: Alex Honnold—How I Climbing a 3,000-Foot Vertical Cliff Without Ropes

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America’s 25 Classic Boulder Problems

Humans have been exploring boulders in America for hundreds of years, going back to the Native Americans who lived in and around many of today’s bouldering areas. In the 1950s and ‘60s, John Gill began taking gymnastics to the rocks, seeking challenges on small cliffs and boulders from Illinois to the Tetons to the Black Hills to Colorado. But he was largely alone until well into the 1970s and ‘80s, when bouldering started to become seen as a pursuit in its own right. Given the size and geological diversity of the US, we may very well have the most—and most varied—bouldering in the world. We also have an extraordinary legacy of classic problems from V0 to V16, with seemingly endless potential left. To list the 25 best problems in America is a challenge.

Yes please.

The Classic 25: America's Best Boulder Problems

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Your First Trad Lead Starts With These Steps...

Stop crying. That comes later.

You’ve prepared for this. You’re ready. You’ve spent an hour placing cams and nuts on the ground, yanking on them, questioning if they’re good, and settling on, “I guess—probably?” You’ve read John Long’s Climbing Anchors, and in a no-stress environment can easily recall some of it. You’ve been “mentored” by that guy who carries everything he needs to build a 3-1 pulley on his harness while bouldering at the gym. You’ve prepared enough that it’s turned into procrastination. Suck it up and start leading. Here’s how:

😂

Unsent: An Honest Guide to Your First Trad Lead

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Pros and Cons of Hiking with Trekking Poles

Lately, whenever I go hiking I always find myself grabbing my trekking poles, regardless of whether I am hiking 1 mile or 20 miles. It doesn't matter if I am ascending one hundred feet or descending several thousand, they have become an essential part of my outdoor gear I never leave home without. They are simply a part of my kit nowadays, ready at a moments notice, and I don't see leaving them behind anytime soon. That being said, here are some pros and cons for you to consider when thinking about using trekking poles on your adventures on the trail or in the backcountry:

I’m on the ‘pro trekking pole’ side. I hiked Mt. Whitney without them and regretted every painful step on the way down. Having them after that, saved my knees, made me more stable, and (the more I used them) I found more uses for them than just for ‘trekking’.

The Pros and Cons of Hiking with Trekking Poles

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10 Most Useful Backpacking Knots

This classic knot is useful in situations where you're connecting two pieces of rope. You can always add more pieces of rope, and this knot can be used almost anywhere, especially when you need to tie something loosely to your pack, or make extra line for a tarp or rain fly. Bonus: It's easy to untie, even with a lot of stress added to it.

I used to use the knot below a TON.

The 10 Most Useful Backpacking Knots

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Learn to Build the “Quad” Climbing Anchor

The “quad” offers a strong, fast, redundant, simple anchor when distributing forces between pieces is a high priority. Note that the quad will extend slightly should either side fail, making it best suited for routes with modern, two-bolt belays and/or ice routes when using two screws at a stance. The quad also works well on multi-piece gear anchors, though it requires more consideration...

Huh. Not sure why I never thought of this kind of anchor when I was climbing a lot. Be sure to check out the 3 piece quad anchor this article talks about at the end.

Learn This: Build a Quad Anchor

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Climbers in Yosemite Say Goodby to Jim “the Bird” Bridwell

On Saturday, May 19, climbers from around the country gathered at the Lower River Amphitheater in Yosemite Valley to share their remembrances of Jim Bridwell.

Love this last bit.

Mike Graham, a member of the Stonemasters and the early Yosemite Search and Rescue team (YOSAR), for which Bridwell was a driving force, reminded the audience that "a man dies twice: once with his last breath, and then when his name is last spoken," prophesizing that as long as there are climbers in Yosemite Valley, Jim Bridwell will not die.

Dude is probably going to live forever. Rest In Peace.

Many flock to Yosemite to say goodbye to Jim 'the Bird' Bridwell

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Training for That Big Climb

Johnathan Siegrist:

I had laid some kind of foundation but for 2018 I really wanted to improve. Ideally that improvement would result in climbing 9b, but honestly more than anything I just wanted to feel like I was making progress. When you've spent years fine tuning your training and inching towards your personal best, massive breakthroughs become less and less realistic. You start to aim for the smallest increments to motivate you.

Been there 100%. As a long time gymnast turned climber, that “push the plateau” part of training was always the toughest but the most rewarding.

He’s training for one of the most famous (and difficult) climbs in the world, Jumbo Love.

I campaigned at Clark for roughly a month. I think I had around 11 days in total on the route this season but the process to sending really felt like it started with my obsessive planning back in December. Hopefully there is a lesson hiding somewhere in this summation of my process that speaks to you, and maybe it's just what you needed to start planning (...or not!) for your next big mission.

May 2018

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The Similarities of Off-Roading and Rock Climbing

I was watching the newest episode of one of my current favorite YouTube channels and I was struck by the realiziation that various types of off-roading align quite well with various types of rock climbing.

Consider

  • Slow, considered, technical, requires tons of practice and experience, bring everything but the kitchen sink: Aid Climbing VS technical Off-Road Rock Crawling
  • Fast, less experience required, less gear needed, can throw some caution to the wind: Sport Climbing VS ORV Park obstacle driving/racing
  • Faster yet, pedal to the metal adrenaline, think less...just go: Indoor Speed Climbing VS Baja Style Racing

I’m sure there could be more comparisons made, but as I watched the guys in the below video take hours to pass one obstacle, just to get turned around when the terrain looked even more sketchy...it reminded me of times I’ve had to do the same while climbing.

If you want to go straight to a well edited, good story lines, you tube channel...go check out Jason Koertge.

This Website Is Making It Easy to Plan Your Next Great Adventure

One of the hardest parts about joining in on adventure tourism is the barrier to entry. After all, you can’t just head out on a 10-day trek without the right experience, gear, and training. But taking a backpacking trip through a remote area or climbing to the top of a destination’s most popular peak can let you experience a new place in such a unique way.

Back in 2010 I had set aside some time to go do one of these big trips. I was planning on heading to Nepal for 3-4 weeks with my wife to trek up to Everest Base Camp and possibly Ama Dablam. However, due to the nature of my work I ran in to some red tape that prevented that trip. (I’ve always regretted not being able to go)

So, how do you do it? The best way is to hire an experienced local guide and let them prepare and teach you along the way. This may seem like an easy answer, but scouring the Internet for qualified guides and treks that fit your needs can be a daunting task. After all, reading review after review can only give you so much insight and after a while the results can seem overwhelming.

Enter Explore-share.com....

I was that guy, scouring the internet hoping to find a reasonably priced and reputable guiding service that didn’t necessarily do everything for me, but that would guide me though Nepal and to those amazing locations. I would have been all over this site had it been around back then.

This Website Is Making It Easy to Plan Your Next Great Adventure

#Blog

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Jim “The Bird” Bridwell Passes

The legendary Yosemite climber Jim “The Bird” Bridwell died in Palm Springs, California, today. He will be remembered for his contributions to not only Valley climbing—some 100 first-ascent free climbs plus A5 big wall routes on Half Dome and El Capitan—but also cutting-edge alpine routes from Alaska to Patagonia.

His climbs were truly inspirational.

Obituary: Jim “The Bird” Bridwell (1944-2018)

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The Climbing Revolution

Climbing has soared in popularity in recent years, fuelled by anticipation of Tokyo 2020 where it will make its Olympic debut. On home shores, walls are sprouting from the ground as a new breed of social climbers chalk up. According to ukclimbing.com, there are more than 650 walls for Brits to get their legs over and almost 1,500 of us on average are attempting to do so every day.

Back in mid to late 2000’s I had this crazy idea of starting up my own climbing gym in central California. Climbing gyms hadn’t really started until the 90’s so the climbing gym industry was still pretty young. I saw the swing in popularity happening a couple years after I took up the sport and I had started working part time as a route setter at the local climbing gym chain in San Diego.

I remember celebrating the news that the IFSC was vying for a spot in the 2020 Olympics. As a gymnast growing up, enrollment at my gym would always skyrocket after the Olympics...so I know that the same will happen for climbing.

Too bad I wasn’t able to convince banks to give me a bunch of money during America’s “Great Recession” (even though they loved by business plan...or so they said). Sometimes it’s all about timing. Cool to see this revolution taking hold overseas too.

This climbing thing just might have a future.

The trendy European city leading a hipster climbing revolution

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5 Climber Tips For Healthy Knees

When it comes to climbing injuries, the spotlight stays fixed on the upper body: fingers, elbows, and shoulders. It makes sense. Those three areas undergo significant wear and tear. But it's just as important to consider the risk of injury in our lower half, where our knees are the most taxed from climbing movement.

Not only will keeping your knees healthy extend your climbing career, but if you make your legs strong in the process, those gear humps to the base of El Cap or Half Dome are soooo much easier.

A Climber's Guide to Healthy Knees: 5 Tips for Preventing Knee Injuries

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A Mere Mortal’s Guide to Climbing the Nose

I am just a regular guy from the midwest with a 7 year old daughter and a semi-normal job who dreams about living in a van with my smokin’ hott climber girlfriend and being a #dirtbag #vanlife. Since that would never happen, I had to train my butt off, literally, because at this time last year I was about 30 lbs overweight. My climbing partner, Matt, a chiseled 6 foot 160 lbs, laughed at me when I told him I wanted to climb the Nose.

This guy did a great job with his trip report. It's engaging, has some amazing stories throughout and the end is perfect...

When we got all our gear up to that tree, Matt had a surprise for me. “I brought a little something up just incase we made it here, how would you like a little whiskey?”

I had given up drinking 6 weeks before the trip to help with training and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate our accomplishment. “I brought something too,” pulling out two Snickers bars. We hugged each other and tried to hold back tears.

There was no Provost at the top of this rock handing out diplomas, no annoyed, sweaty professors waiting to shake our hands. Just the two of us and a giant pile of gear.

So we sat, eating Snickers with warm bellies, and watched the moon come up over the valley rim.

That's how a climb ends. Perfect.

A Mere Mortal's Guide to Climbing the Nose

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How to Maintain Climbing Strength as You Age

In our third decade, we start losing mass in skeletal muscles, and in our forties, the process accelerates—we may lose as much as 10 to 20 percent. Climbers may note this less because the decline is greater in the lower body than in the upper. But still, it’s happening. Most of the muscle lost is fast-twitch, so power will drop first. But there is some good news: Endurance persists. Read on to sidestep nature.

Hate to admit it but I’m in that “third decade” group.

How to Maintain Climbing Strength as You Age

8 Moderate Climbs for Your Tick List

No matter your ability level, there are plenty of reasons to jump on an excellent 5.6. It can provide an opportunity to hone a certain skill set, like building anchors or perfecting hand jams. It can be a great entry point into unfamiliar and remote terrain. It can also mean cruising up stellar rock with spectacular scenery, removing us from the numbers-chasing game and reminding us why we all came to love climbing in the first place. Here, a collection of some of the country’s best 5.6s that every climber should add to the “must-do” list.

A couple of these are already on my tick list even though well below what I know I can climb. Sometimes climbing is about what they mention...climbing in that stellar scenery.

Moderate Marvels: 8 of the Best Multipitch 5.6 Routes in the U.S.

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Awesome Climbing Stories

Jacopo Larcher and Barbara Zangerl made a rare free ascent of Magic Mushroom (VI 5.14a, 2,900') on El Capitan, topping out on December 10 after an 11-day push from the ground. With nine pitches of 5.12, nine pitches of 5.13 and two pitches of 5.14a, and much of the difficulty concentrated on the top half of the route, Magic Mushroom is considered one of the harder free lines on El Cap.

Not only do I love climbing stories like these, but the pictures are freaking amazing!! I need to get back to the Valley soon.

Freeing Magic Mushroom on El Cap

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